After John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln investigators searched Booth's hotel room in Washington. They discovered in a trunk a letter contained in an envelope marked "Important" and signed with Booth's initials. The letter was from a "friend" named "SAM," presumably Samuel Arnold. The full text of the letter follows:
Hookstown, Balto. Co.
March 27, 1865
Dear John: Was business so important that you could not
remain in Balto. till I saw you? I came in as soon as I could, but
found you had gone to W—n. I called also to see Mike, but learned
from his mother he had gone out with you, and had not returned. I
concluded, therefore, he had gone with you. How inconsiderate you
have been! When I left you, you stated we would not meet in a month
or so. Therefore, I made application for employment, an answer to
which I shall receive during the week. I told my parents I had ceased
with you. Can I, then, under existing circumstances, come as you
request? You know full well that the G—t suspicions something is
going on there; therefore, the undertaking is becoming more complicated.
Why not, for the present, desist, for various reasons, which, if you look
into, you can readily see, without my making any mention thereof.
You, nor any one, can censure me for my present course. You have
been its cause, for how can I now come after telling them I had left you?
Suspicion rests upon me now from my whole family, and even parties in the
county. I will be compelled to leave home any how, and how soon I
care not. None, no not one, were more in favor of the enterprise
than myself, and to-day would be there, had you not done as you have—by
this I mean, manner of proceeding. I am, as you well know, in need.
I am, you may say, in rags, whereas to-day I ought to be well clothed.
I do not feel right stalking about with means, and more from appearances
a beggar. I feel my dependence; but even all this would and was forgotten,
for I was one with you. Time more propitious will arrive yet.
Do not act rashly or in haste. I would prefer your first query, “go
and see how it will be taken at R----d, and ere long I shall be better
prepared to again be with you. I dislike writing,; would sooner verbally
make known my views; yet your non-writing causes me thus to proceed.
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